Baby Boomers – an Untapped Money Pit for the Travel Industry

Baby Boomers – an Untapped Money Pit for the Travel Industry

It is well documented that Baby Boomers travel. A lot. Baby Boomers are my generation, and we can be very difficult to please.

Who are the baby boomers?

When the 2nd World War finished, and service men AND women returned home, for some reason there was a population revolution. We are the result: the baby boomers.   The official period for our ‘generation is from 1947 – 1965. We baby boomers are considered to be the generation that “had it all”, and personally I can see no problem with that. Our parents worked hard to make sure that we had a good education and that we felt free to express our views. Under lying this no doubt, was that we would settle down and get a good job, have kids etc … and we did .. eventually.   The 1960’s and 70’s were a huge period for baby boomers – think Vietnam War, Martin Luther King, contraceptive pill, free tertiary education, Beatles and music and more music. This was the time of rebellion and this continues in many respects in that many will not accept 2nd best.

Why baby boomers are problematic for the travel industry?

The thing is that we baby boomers grew up butting heads with authority, had alternative lifestyles that our kids would not recognize nor choose to know about. Many of us had a free university education giving us time to protest anything that looked moderately conservative.

We as baby boomers did however settle down eventually, worked hard and accumulated wealth and comfort.   Now we want to spend it … on ourselves. Selfish? Maybe. One thing I do know is that we valued education for our children as our parents had for us, and we provided them with opportunities to grow and to develop in whatever fields they wanted.

We still continue to dominate culture, and economics. Many of us are fit, free and financial enough to do what we want. Many are now at that stage of retiring meaning that there will be a mass exodus from the workforce but importantly, a demand that our needs and wants be met. Travel is a huge factor in what baby boomers want. Contented Traveller

The problem child of the baby boomer period

Mainstream travellers wanting to do cruises or organised trips have a plethora of choices and do not or should not settle for 2nd best. This is a fiercely competitive marketplace. Every newspaper, online site and travel authority are dedicated to wooing these mainstream travellers. This demographic of the baby boomers are a little easier, although it is just as a competitive realm.

But .. it is the travellers like us who are growing exponentially, who organize our own travels because we have the tools at our disposal to do this, and that the travel industry do not know what to do with.   They do know one thing – that they want our money but they do not know how to get it. What can they give us that we cannot get for ourselves?   We are probably in the too hard basket but that pot of money is keeping them scratching their heads. We just won’t compromise.

Contented Traveller

What do we want?

I do not have all of the answers for the travel industry because I can do it myself and I do.   Information is a great thing to give anyone. Some tourism boards in some countries are shining where this is concerned.  Information is important to us to make our travels more varied and bespoke. Make no bones about the fact that we are very tech savvy and we still like a bargain.

Do we want to stay in a houseboat this week, an old regency flat in London the next, a curious little B&B in Ghent, well yes we can? Because it is sites like ours, Contented Traveller that share these resources with you.   So how are you going to get your hands on our money travel industry? I like you, am scratching my head.

What are your thoughts?

paella-valencia, Graduating-from-the-Paella-Academy-in-Valencia-Spain


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  1. I think you’re right, exactly right. Quite frankly, I don’t really want to give my money over to travel agents, cruise ships, organized tours that’s why I do it all myself. So, like you I wouldn’t be much help to them.
    Corinne recently posted…A Couple of Great Eateries in AlsaceMy Profile

    • I am certain they have think tanks trying to figure us all out :)

  2. Hello Paula, just like you I’ve worked too hard just to hand my cash over to the middleman, so to speak. We’re smart, tech savvy and healthy n fit. Still making our own way around the world, work permitting!

  3. This article gives food for thought. You are right – many of us BB’s are independent-minded, and capable online shoppers. I’m thinking about our blogs. . . maybe we should do blog posts or series with a ‘do it yourself’ theme.
    Donna Amis Davis recently posted…Z is for ZooMy Profile

    • I agree, I think that we are trying to build people’s confidence up through showing how it can be done.:)

  4. A very interesting read. I’ve studied the idea of generational differences a lot in school but from the perspective of hiring and filling the shortage that you mentioned as Baby Boomers begin to retire.

    Your article gets me thinking about the travel industry as a whole. For so long travel agents and all-inclusive guided trips have reigned supreme and I can see that shifting in the future. The internet has changed everything, from the way we do business and work to the way we spend down time and relax, to the way we buy and use products. It only makes sense that with all this information at our fingertips the way we travel has begun to shift too.

    What does this mean for baby boomers? I’m not sure. I’m definitely seeing a shift in how Generation Y travels compared to those before us. Very interesting, I’m sure I’ll be thinking about this all week now :)
    Calli recently posted…Road Tripping Essentials – Iceland EditionMy Profile

    • Thanks Calli, we certainly pose a dilemma for the travel industry. Paula

  5. Great article and great read. I’ve worked in the airlines before and even I as a worker, does not like dealing with travel agencies and such. Why pay somebody to do a job you can do yourself? Thanks for sharing.
    Jay recently posted…Our Blessed Experience In La Sagrada FamiliaMy Profile

    • Thanks and of course I agree. i think what we are trying to do on this site is to give people the confidence and tools to do it themselves. I hate it when I hear of people compromising but then you can only make suggestions. Also the way we travel is so much cheaper and we can do 5 star should we choose.

  6. Wait! I’m a Baby Boomer? 😉 I agree, I’m able to plan things myself. I want to control my itinerary and be aware of all my choices of things to see or do. However, I do feel a certain sadness for the dwindling jobs for ‘travel agents’. Those who have spent their lives helping others discover the world for their daily living. Life changes… Great insightful post!
    Nancie Lee recently posted…Bouquet or Bokeh? Getting Illuminating ResultsMy Profile

    • Thanks and it is a changing world. We have so many tools and are of the era when many of just don’t accept compromise.

  7. A very insightful post. I think in many ways, we have always been the “problem children” of many industries. But our power has always lain in the fact that there are just do darn MANY of us! We have always been like the giant mongoose swallowed by a boa constrictor. They have to digest us or die trying. We are a bit spoiled by the fact that we have driven the American economy ever since our birth. Whatever we wanted or needed at every point in our lives, the market found a way to provide. I feel confident that travel markets will figure this out too, although I don’t envy them the project. I know I/we do NOT travel like our parents did.

    • So true. We are currently putting the finishing touches to our book called Hey Baby Boomers. You’ve Earned it, Just Travel and this also explores that people like us CHOOSE our own paths, always have and always will. We also look at why we as baby boomers are a problematic demographic for the travel industry. But then rebelliousness is in our genes :))



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